Louisiana Judge Upholds Part of Law Requiring Abortionists to Have Admitting Privileges

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2015   |   2:32PM   |   Washington, DC

In a victory for pro-life advocates in Louisiana, a judge has thrown out part of a lawsuit challenging a new state law designed to protect women and unborn children. The portion of the lawsuit thrown out has to do with admitting privileges requirements that mandate abortion practitioners have such privileges at a local hospital so women who are victimized by botched abortions can receive timely medical care.

Louisiana Right to Life has more on the decision:

The lawsuit against HB 388 requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals continues. But we are pleased that federal Judge John deGravelles has recognized that that admitting privileges requirement is medically reasonable, just as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had already ruled.

Judge deGravelles has thrown out a portion of the lawsuit challenging HB388, passed by the Louisiana Legislature last spring.

“We are pleased that the judge’s ruling recognizes that an admitting provisions requirement like Louisiana’s is medically reasonable, and we look forward to the trial,” Kyle Duncan, an attorney representing the state in defending HB 388, told The Associated Press.

Judge deGravelles scheduled a trial for June 22-29 over the portions of the lawsuit that remain intact, including the state’s requirement for doctors performing abortions to be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

Louisiana Right to Life looks forward to the arguments in federal district court in Baton Rouge and can’t wait until this law goes into effect.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, that the Planned Parenthood abortion business and abortion advocates strenuously opposed.

“This bill will give women the health and safety protections they deserve,” Jindal said.



The pro-life law, if fully enforced, will protect women by ensuring that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, that informed consent protections apply to all abortions, and that facilities that perform more than five abortions maintain proper licensing.

But, three of five abortion facilities in the state, along with two abortion doctors filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge in an attempt to stop Louisiana HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, from taking effect on September 1. Previously, , Federal District Court Judge John deGravelles issued a “limited” temporary restraining order allowing the abortion businesses to continue performing abortions until hospitals reach a decision on their applications for admitting privileges.

In an email to LifeNews before the admitting privileges decision this week, Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said the state attorneys defending the pro-life law, recognizing the precedent of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when it ruled in a similar Texas case that physicians with pending applications could not be penalized, offered this as a compromise to the abortion plaintiffs Friday.  The abortion plaintiffs rejected this compromise, seeking instead a full temporary restraining order that would have gone beyond the 5th Circuit’s decision. Judge deGravelles has rejected this request.

Clapper said Judge deGravelles ordered that there will be a status conference within 30 days to receive updates on the status of admitting privilege applications. At that point, the parties will discuss how to proceed on the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, which will go to the underlying constitutional merits of Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.

Clapper told LifeNews: “HB 388 was overwhelmingly approved by the Louisiana Legislature as a measure to promote the continuity of care and protect the health and safety of Louisiana women. Prompt implementation of HB 388 will allow Louisiana to raise the standard of care in Louisiana abortion facilities sooner rather than later. While any delay of the law is a setback to that goal, we believe Judge deGravelles’ limited decision was a fair one. ”

“We recognize that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already ruled in its Texas decision that physicians with pending admitting privileges applications could continue performing abortions. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has already stated it would respect the 5th Circuit’s decision. Judge deGravelles, in a fair manner, simply applied the 5th Circuit’s logic in his decision,” he said. “Unfortunately, the abortion industry’s attorneys rejected the state’s offered compromise on Friday and demanded the halting of the law completely. They are interested only in preventing the patient-centered standards from taking effect instead of working with the state to find a fair way to move forward.  The decision this evening allows the law to go into effect but provides time for hospitals to respond to the abortion physicians’ applications.”

Clapper continued: “Since abortion was legalized in the United States, the abortion industry has virtually opposed every common-sense effort to raise medical standards at abortion facilities and give women more information about abortion and their options. They have done it again in fighting the implementation of Act 620 (HB 388). These abortion facilities want less oversight so they can sell more abortions.”

“The legal process is far from over. We thank Judge deGravelles for his fair and impartial proceedings and look forward to further litigation and the eventual full implementation of Act 620,” he added.

Clapper said the Baton Rouge and New Orleans abortion facilities are not party to the lawsuit and therefore must abide by Act 620. It is not clear the status of admitting privileges at these facilities.

The law requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their facility.